Archive for the ‘Ouch’ Category

Nothing too new to add here… Life is crazy and work is nuts and stress is always present, tying knots in my stomach and shoulders. But it’s all wonderful. Yoga practice? I took some deep breaths in the car yesterday. That was my yoga practice.

I had this moment on January 1st when I said I would do WoYoPracMo, then did really good for the first week, practicing every day, feeling sore and exhilarated and recommitted. And then I had a week of horrible back pain and stomach pain and I fell off the wagon. Again.

Not sure what’s up with the stomach… I’ve had some sort of pain basically since I was pregnant, although it was extremely localized up until the past few weeks. A tender spot about two inches below my belly button and two inches to my left. After the pregnancy, I just figured maybe it was scar tissue healing from the C-Section. Now since its been so long, I’m not so sure, so I’m getting it checked out. Yes, people. It takes me a year of discomfort before I seek medical help. A whole year.

The back pain is a combination of weakened abdominal muscles and hoisting a 20-plus-pound wiggle-worm around in ways that are definitely not orthopedist-recommended. We don’t call him Squirmin’ Herman for nothin’. Actually I’m pretty sure that the root of it all came from moving around after the surgery, as I vaguely remember this same aching in the same spot in my mid-back as I was hunched over my stitches for several weeks…

So yeah, no yoga lately. Maybe I can make the second half of January.


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14 weeks, 0 days

Fact of the day:

“What goes in, must come out. Yes, whatever I drink I urinate back into the amniotic fluid.”

Ew. And considering yesterday’s fact, that my baby drinks about a pint of amniotic fluid each day? Well, at least (s)he’s reusing.

My mother gave me this fun little calendar that gives you a new fact about your baby every day, which is fun and strange and wonderful all at once.

I must be an acrobatic sleeper, because I continually injure myself during sleep. This time around? I twisted my ankle. I got up last night for one of my many trips to the toilet, and as soon as I placed my foot on the ground, I yelped in pain. “What was that?” asked Tay.

“I twisted my ankle,” I groaned.

“How’d you do that?”


Great. No standing poses for me this morning. And no chaturanga-up-dog transitions. So I’m already off my proposed routine. Prenatal pilates again. Sigh.

Back in baby-land, I’m wallowing through the myriad of cloth diapering choices trying to figure out how it all works. I had posted a question on an online mothering forum, hoping to gain some clarification, but all I got were even more options. Oh wow. Pre-folds, pockets, covers, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, velcro, snaps, cotton, wool, fleece, microfiber… I’ve got about 10 browser tabs open right now, all with different cloth diaper companies, working to weigh my options. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it all, but which ones to choose?

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I need a new Ganesha on my right shoulder. Good ol’ Left Shoulder Ganesha has removed all the obstacles from my left shoulder injury. Jai Left Shoulder Ganesha!

But now the right shoulder hurts. I think I pulled something. Perhaps I’ll create a new bhajan to recite every morning to inspire Left Shoulder Ganesh to help the right shoulder.

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Every morning I’m learning something new about my body. I’m learning something new about each of these dozens of poses I’ve practiced for years and years. Small changes in approach, internal shifts and small movements to minimize pain.

I’ve never been that much of a stickler on alignment. Well, of course I’m all about injury prevention, but when (for example) my instructor said to bring my chin to my shin in Krounchasana, I never questioned whether or not my spine was perfectly straight or if I was sinking down into my sacrum rather than lifting up out of it. And now I must. So the chin is often inches from the shin and the pose is incomplete, but the spine is straight and the breath is soft (not ragged with pain), and so it feels good.

Same in Janu Sirsasana, Paschimottanasana, pretty much every forward bend. If my lower back is overly curved, there is pain. Pull the chest forward, pull out of the low back and sacrum, strong uddiyana bandha = soft breath, no pain.

And in backbends, I can no longer depend on the ease and flexibility of my lower back and just hang out and love every breath. Instead, I have to focus. Internally rotate thighs, release glutes, press into shoulders, engage front body, oh! Here we go again! Release glutes!! Engage front body!! Press into shoulders!! INTERNALLY ROTATE THIGHS!!!

Because if I don’t, it hurts.

Similarly, I can no longer hang out in my dropbacks. I used to languish in that long, slow descent. No longer. It’s become all about bending the legs and getting the hands to the floor without jamming the sacrum.

This is exciting. Sure, it’s not necessarily what everyone wants for themselves… injury is never fun. But each morning is an opportunity to learn something new to help me out of pain.

I leave for Portland tomorrow. I’ve mapped out and scheduled my shala visits for the following four days. And I’m extremely excited about that, too.

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a note on practice

I’ve been avoiding this. Mostly because I hate confrontation, but they say… the truth shall set you free… so out with it already!

Practice hurts lately. I’m in this strange space where forward bends are strangely uncomfortable as it feels that my left femur is jamming itself against my pelvis somehow and back bends are terribly painful as my lower back has decided to stop moving and my sacrum is ragged around the edges. So really the only time I’m pain free in practice is in samasthiti and in the midst of vinyasas between poses.

I’m having a tough time practicing through the pain.

Although I suppose it should be noted that all this pain stuff started popping up when my practice schedule became much more sporadic. Or was it right after that trip to Santa Barbara that began the Operation Unstick Jenna’s Spine? Not sure. Maybe a little of both. So my scapegoat is one of those two options.

Regardless, I’m definitely dreading tomorrow’s practice.

I feel much better having said this, though.

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Fear and Spoonbread

Last night I went to our friends’ annual Turkey Lurkey party… they’ve hosted it every year since we were college students, and I have to say that everyone has vastly improved their Thanksgiving cooking skills in leaps and bounds. We went from boxed stuffing to Butternut Squash and Goji Berry stuffing (Sounds strange, but it was fantastic!). It’s wonderful to have foodie friends.

I was in charge of a sweet potato dish this year, and I wrestled with recipe ideas for a few days as I have a love-hate relationship with this tuber. I love savory dishes with sweet potato, but can’t stand the cloyingly sweet ones that match the veggie with maple syrup or molasses. So usually I skip the sweet potatoes all together at the Thanksgiving table. I found Heidi’s recipe for her Sweet Potato Spoonbread in her cookbook (seriously people, I’ve linked to this book more times than I can count. If you don’t already own it, buy it). The recipe was time consuming, but mostly hands-off. Easy-peesy. And my kitchen smelled so good as the casserole baked in the oven. I was slightly wary as I set it down on the counter with the rest of the spread. But this dish was incredible. Caramelized shallots, browned butter, goat cheese… and of course the sweet potatoes. I went back for more about 15 minutes after I initially sat down, and it was totally and completely gone with the casserole dish scraped clean. Yum… It’s a good feeling when you leave a potluck with an empty dish or tray.

I’ve been madly rushing around prepping my house for Thursday’s guests. I’ve ordered my turkeys (two 14-pounders!), grocery shopped, cleaned, painted, cleaned, hung pictures, cleaned… In a few minutes I’m going to clean some more. Although I should probably be practicing, but I hope to do that later.

I think this whole lower back/sacrum/whatever thing is causing me some serious apprehension towards my practice. And I really can’t say for sure that practice is aggravating it. I could say “sporadic practice is aggravating.” But really, sporadic practice is aggravating in its very nature. Without regular practice, my body is not receptive to the subtle pose, my mind is not quiet, my breath is not natural… everything feels forced. Aggravated. Until I return to my daily practice, I won’t know how it truly effects my body.

Yesterday I was thinking about how I used to run almost daily. For years I just dealt with the sore knees, hips, strained tendons… And at some point I stopped.  I realized I was stressing my body too much and decided that running just wasn’t for me anymore. I can’t imagine coming to that crossroad with my physical Ashtanga practice.

But then I read about Bindfry’s struggles and recent breakthrough and about (Ovo)’s journey and I see a light.

Practice and all is coming.

It is difficult to explain this “practice through the pain” thing to others outside the Ashtanga-sphere. This makes me feel a little crazed and cultish, like I just told them I’m convinced that I can communicate with God by eating my own toenail clippings or something. Last night one friend suggested I see a Chiropractor. I’d need to find a new one as my existing one told me that in order to fix my pelvic imbalance, I needed to stop practicing yoga. Not an option I was willing to entertain, so our sessions ended on that day. Chiropractic adjustments are expensive whereas self-practice adjustments are free, so I’d rather find the healing through my practice… if at all possible.

I’m excited to practice what I was taught on Friday, working the internal pose, using the breath and bandhas as a sort of healing tool. One of the things that I love and respect about my teacher is that he will share these nuances that he’s discovered with his students. And they are deep and philosophical, but practical and applicable as well. The topic is physical at surface-level, and then we delve deeper, past the physical, past the meta-physical and somatic and into the root, the inherent intelligence of self…

Plus he gives amazing assisted drop-backs. 🙂

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Cat Scratch Fever

People!! I can not believe the bizarre events that transpired last night. I’m still reeling from the experience and just now coming out of my Percocet-induced haze…

What began with a blur of black and white fur, claws, teeth, and screams culminated four hours later in the halls of the Twin Cities ER with the whine of a jewelry saw and the puncture of a needle in my ass.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

At around 8:30 p.m. last night, I had just finished the dishes and I had settled down with a book at the kitchen table. Out of nowhere, I see this black and white streak out of the corner of my eye. I had just put together that a stray cat had somehow found a way inside our house, when Kula perked up and started snarling and chasing the poor, terrified creature. I lunged across the living room as Kula caught the cat and was affixing her jaws to its jugular. I kicked Kula, and in a moment of stupidity, tried to scoop the cat up off the floor to pull her away from Kula.

What came next is sort of hazy… but it goes something like this: Kula is still trying to kill the cat, baring her teeth and snapping at it. The terrified cat is trying to kill me so it can free itself and run away. I’m screaming for Taylor in what must have been a blood curdling tone as the cat is sinking its sharp teeth repeatedly into my ring finger, neck, and shoulder and clawing away at my face and hands. I find my way out to the garage with Kula close on my heels, Tay comes running from around the corner of the house and tries to assess the situation, probably wondering where the axe murderer I’m screaming about went. He grabs the dog, I peel the cat off of my face and throw it away from me, I crumple in a ball, still screaming and bleeding, and Kula is wagging her tail like she just had the best time of her life.

Poor kitty.

Immediately, my ring finger began to swell double its size.  We called a friend who’s an ER doctor to ask what we should do. “Come in right away,” he said. “60% of cat bites lead to infection.”

At the ER, we finally got through triage and saw a doctor who barely glanced at my now-purple finger. “Those rings need to come off immediately,” he said, indicating my wedding rings. Apparently the cat had punctured a blood vessel. We asked if the rings could be saved. He shrugged and disappeared. An hour later, I was given an ice bucket and was instructed to soak my hand in it. An hour after that, the pain was excruciating and the swelling was not going down. “Just cut them off,” I said to a concerned nurse. “I told you you not to buy me diamonds,” I told Taylor.

I was given a tetanus shot in my shoulder, a horribly painful shot of some antibiotic in my right buttock, and a horse pill to swallow as another nurse began to saw away at my wedding band with a small dull drummel. It took about another hour to get through both my engagement ring and my wedding band. The nurses took turns, while others came down the hall just to see it.

Tay and I finally left the ER just before 2 a.m. with a specimen cup containing the remnants of my rings, a few percocets, and a prescription for more antibiotics. Today, my finger is blue and swollen and hot and I type with 8 fingers because the pinky finger of my other hand has a puncture wound that went through the finger nail from one of the kitty’s claws.

I still can’t believe what happened. And I hope that poor kitty is okay.

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